Wow, longest blog post title EVER.
My friend Tara came and visited me about 5 months ago and brought with her an entire de-boned leg of lamb swimming in green stuff. She assured me "I'm sure it will be phenomenal...I mean c'mon, it's Jamie Oliver." She roasted the lamb directly on my oven rack with a pan of vegetables underneath to catch the dripping juices. This girl drove 2 hours to my house, to cook me supper and brought with her this probably $50 slab of meat (she's a great friend). The smells that filled my house were unbelievable. The five of us ate until we almost burst, sipping on red wine and enjoying the flavor party dancing on our tongues.
I mean SERIOUSLY. That minty, garlicky yogurt marinade/sauce is drool inducing and kind of like a cross between a tzaziki sauce and hummus. I decided I couldn't wait for a special occasion to eat this meal again, so I adapted the recipe to work with a much more inexpensive pork loin. I HIGHLY recommend trying Jamie's original version of this recipe, but this one hits all the same flavor notes and for a fraction of the cost for me here in Canada.
Recipe adapted from Jamie Oliver - Jamie's Dinners
3 lb center boneless pork loin roast (mine was a double roast, two singles stacked on top of one another and tied together, although it wasn't marked as such)
2 tsp ground coriander
3 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
a large bunch of fresh cilantro, chopped
a large bunch of fresh mint, chopped
1 14 oz. can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
juice of 1/2 a lemon
2 cups natural yogurt
1 butternut squash, unpeeled, cut in half lengthwise and then cut into 8 wedges
a bunch of baby carrots, scrubbed, tops left on
1 red onion, peeled and quartered
1 whole bulb of garlic, broken into cloves (don't peel)
2 teaspoons ground cumin
extra virgin olive oil
In a food processor combine the coriander, garlic, cilantro, mint, chickpeas, lemon and yogurt and pulse until smooth. Season the marinade'
with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Place half of this flavored yogurt in a large plastic bag and add the pork loin. Put the other half of the flavored yogurt in the fridge. Tie the bag up to seal it and turn it around to allow the yogurt to coat all the pork. Leave to marinate for at least an hour, but up to 24 hours in the fridge.
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
Cut the butternut squash into wedges (do not bother to peel. The peels get very tender when roasted and are edible. They are also easy to peel off on your plate if it bothers you.) Place the butternut squash wedges, carrots, onion, and garlic in a roasting tray. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle on the cumin and toss together to coat. Place a rack over top of your roasting tray. Remove the pork from the marinade, then place the meat directly on the rack with the tray of vegetables below. Cook for about 1 hour 30 minutes or until the internal temperature of the pork is between 145-150 degrees, tossing the vegetables halfway through. Remove the pork from the oven and tent with foil for 15-20 minutes so the internal temperature of the pork can come up to about 155-160 degrees. Remove the twine and slice across the grain. Serve the pork with the roasted vegetables and the extra minty yogurt.
I actually adapted this recipe long before I decided to do a review of Jamie's cookbook. This recipe may have been the tipping point for choosing it as the first to be reviewed. Everything is so simple, yet the flavors that are created are punchy and extraordinary. The whole unpeeled garlic cloves get sweet and mellow while they roast and we fight over who gets them. My favorite is squeezing them out of their skin and mashing them over the piece of meat to create a smooth, sweet garlic paste. Another major surprise was how much I enjoyed the wedges of butternut squash. We rarely eat squash and I'm sort of convinced that I don't like it that much. Except that when I ate these veggies I thought I would love the carrots, because carrots are familiar. Yet their sweetness doesn't even compare to the butternut squash. And you know what else surprised me? The original Jamie recipe also has roasted baby turnips in the mix and they tasted great too! I cut them out of this version because the roasted lamb feeds about 8-10 people and this feeds only 4-6. You have to cut down on the amount of veggies and the butternut squash is pretty much enough on it's own.
Two thumbs way up on this one.